In search of Wisdom
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In our search for wisdom, we come to Chapter 11 of the Book of Proverbs. I do hope that you are being both blessed and challenged to not lean on your understanding and instead seek the Lord and His wisdom for your daily living.
In Proverbs 11:1 we read, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,
But a just weight is His delight.” Here we are told about one of a number of things that is an abomination to the Lord. First let us understand what is meant by an abomination. It means something disgusting, abhor able, greatly disliked such as idolatry. What makes an abomination so bad is that it is done intentionally. In the case of our verse, it is someone who intentionally messes with the adjustments on the weight machine to give less of his product to the buyer.
Another way to understand this is to understand the differences between three words often used in the Bible to describe different degrees of sin. The three terms used are sin, transgression, and iniquity. Though all 3 are sin, many times when the term sin is used it has to do with doing something, saying something, or thinking something unintentionally. Its like when your driving down the road and someone cuts you off and you utter a four-letter expletive.
Transgression on the other hand is worse. It is like you are ready to do something that you know is wrong but you choose to do it anyway. It can be compared to seeing a ‘no trespassing’ sign and you know what it means but decide to cut across that field anyway because it is a short cut, you ‘choose’ to trespass.
Iniquity is the worst of the three. Iniquity entails not only knowing beforehand that it is wrong but you make plans on carrying it out anyway so as not to get caught. It is also known as premeditated sin, like premeditated murder. Iniquity is like abomination.
I think that it is appropriate to mention at this time with the headlines about homosexual marriages, that God views homosexuality as an abomination as well. In Leviticus 18:21-23 we read, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.” And in Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”
Some would argue as they read these verses that these are from the Old Testament therefore they are not applicable to us today. My answer to this reasoning is show me where in the Bible where it says that God has changed His mind on this sin or others sins like murder, adultery, theft, lying, etc. What is mentioned, as sin in the Old Testament is sin today. God has not changed and He never will.
As we continue now we read in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Here we have two attitudes contrasted, pride and humility. The Bible, God’s Word has much to say about both. God hates pride and resists the proud yet to the humble he gives grace.
Now in Proverbs 11:3-6, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.”
Here again we have Solomon making a contrast between integrity and perversity, righteousness and wickedness, upright and unfaithfulness. It is interesting how little any of these terms are used anymore. It is not politically correct any longer to say that something or someone is perverse or wicked. Integrity and righteousness are not characteristics that are considered to be of any value among a growing number of people today. Though society no longer sees fit to use these terms to describe people and actions God does. The question is, which group do you fit into?
Continuing now in Proverbs 11:7-13, “When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes. The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead. The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”
Here are some more very practical gems of wisdom. Proverbs 11:14-31, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. [This is wise counsel which comes from God, His Word, and godly people but there is also foolish advise that the world is quick to give.]
“He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure.” [Surety is the same as our practice today of co-signing. It is never a good idea to co-sign for anyone. Many friends and family members have become enemies as a result of this.]
“A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches. The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” [There is no rest for the wicked. If you treat others well it is much easier to sleep at night and face yourself in the mirror.]
“The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” [Here we see the truth of, you reap what you sow]
“Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” [Dear ladies please listen carefully. There is so much emphasis placed upon looks in our society today and do you know who set the standard? Those in the clothing and cosmetic industries are the ones who set the style standard. They are only interested in you to the degree of what they can get out of you. The women you see on the cover of the magazines have been made up and airbrushed so much that they aren’t even real. I am not saying that it is wrong to look nice but never as a substitute for discretion. The word discretion comes from the Hebrew word which means to have judgment, reasoning, common sense, and understanding.]
“The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil. He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.”
Next time we will continue studying through the wonderful book known as Proverbs. Until then may the Lord richly bless you.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site to read all previous articles at www.calvarychapel.org/alpine/index.htm
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine